January 7, 2011

Grant talking Mississippi State

Like Mississippi State, Alabama has seen its share of ups and downs during the non-conference slate.

Now the twin state rivals will break into their league schedule against one another in an attempt to gain early momentum in the SEC Western Division on Saturday.

Crimson Tide head coach Anthony Grant split against MSU during his first season at Alabama. The Tide knocked off State 62-57 in Tuscaloosa before falling 74-66 at Humphrey Coliseum a few weeks later. Alabama has not won in Starkville since 2005.

"For us it's more about survival," Grant said. "We've got to defend to have a chance. We've said that all along on a daily basis. You don't know offensively but you should be able to give a consistent effort on the defensive end. I think the ante gets upped here now that we start SEC play because you are dealing with probably one of the most explosive scoring teams in our conference in Mississippi State and they can come at you in a variety of ways with a lot of different weapons. We'll have to do a good job taking away the things that they want to do."

The Crimson Tide has an identical record as Mississippi State at 8-6 but have won three straight while the Bulldogs have dropped four of their last five.

MSU will however get a spark Saturday with the return of junior point guard Dee Bost, who missed the first half of the season due to NCAA and academic suspensions stemming from not withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft in time.

In four career games against the Tide Bost has averaged 15.5 points.

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